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4 Benefits Of Using A Shorter Fly Rod

This is a continuation of the "4 Benefits Of Using A Longer Fly Rod" article that I published last week. For those of you who read that, it detailed how a fly rod that is longer than (the "standard") 9' can be an advantage. Well, in an opposite way, a shorter fly rod can also have its benefits. It's common to see shorter and lighter rods for small streams and also shorter and stronger rods for saltwater angling. Here are four ways where a shorter fly rod can give you an edge...

  1. Accuracy - For many fly fishermen who are targeting fish where accuracy is key but distance is not, a short fly rod can be a noticeable help. Shorter rods provide better accuracy. So if you are throwing dry flies to wary trout in small streams, or tucking deceivers under mangroves for snook, a shorter rod can give you more confidence in where your fly will land.
  2. Fighting Ability/Power - If one of your main concerns is dealing with the issues that occur after hooking a fish, then a shorter rod might be for you. You will see that the shorter/stouter rods that are on the market, aside from small stream sticks, are mostly geared towards large and powerful fish. This is because a shorter rod tends to be stiffer than it's 9' counterpart and allow you to put more controlled pressure on the fish. Further, a shorter rod allows you to get the fish closer to the boat/hand without having to "high stick" or manipulate the rod too much - which also tends to be a common culprit of broken rods. 
  3. Tight Quarters - When you are fishing in close-cover environments where there are lots of trees, branches, and overhanging obstacles, a short rod can help keep you out of the weeds...literally. 
  4. Sink Tips + Heavier Lines - When you extend a rod, it tends to get softer. For instance a 9' 5wt rod will be slightly faster/stiffer than its 10' 5wt (same model) brother. The opposite is true if you go shorter...they get stiffer. So not only does this give you a better "fighting rod" but also a rod that is better capable at handling sinking tips and/or overweighted lines. Shorter rods can also do a good job of picking line off the water quickly to enable another fast cast towards your target. 

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